I made it to the “Citizens 4 Change” kickoff event at the main library this morning. So did Mayor Elect Gary Leitzell and former Dayton School Board candidate Jim Weir. We listened to political neophyte (because he doesn’t want to be a politician) give an hour and 15 minute ramble on how the “real people” will bring “real results” to changing Dayton. He talked a lot about something that doesn’t cost a penny, but we’re deep in debt on in our community: pride.
From his website:
Dec 19th: “Citizens 4 Change” Dayton Day! The moment that we have all been working so hard for. (Here's the rundown: Expected attendence: 70-85 Topics to be discussed. Operation “Dimes 4 Dayton”….A general overview of “Citizens 4 Change” Dayton….Intro of our Community Captains and open forum discussion for the residents and visitors who have general questions and or wish to have their voice heard on city improvement!
Unfortunately, attendance was around two dozen people. No media coverage (unless you count me). But, it’s been my experience never to underestimate the power of a small group- or a US Army paratrooper.
Ken’s ideas are much like the strategy we’re using in Iraq to win over one neighborhood at a time as a way to stabilize and secure an area. However, he won’t have the resources of the US Government to back his teams up. He’s looking to fund his efforts with collection cans near cash registers- “dimes for Dayton” and to direct 100% of the proceeds to reinvestment.
He even talked about a social services hotline- something that we already have with the 211 system that no one knows about (Gary and I both learned of the SEVEN year old service on the campaign trail).
While it’s easy for people to write off Ken and his idealism, I find it refreshing to watch him and think back how I thought I could change Dayton back when I first ran for Mayor (that was 20 years ago). Looking at what’s left of our city after years of disinvestment and negativity, I’m not convinced that Ken can make a difference, but I’m going to be rooting for him and supporting him as best I can- and I’d ask that you do to.
What do we have to lose?